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The Upanishads

(Vehicles of Inner Knowledge)

Gems of Wisdom


The Isha Upanishad (Ishopanishad)

"If all the Upanishads and all the other Scriptures happened all of a sudden to be reduced to ashes, and if only the first verse in the Ishopanishad were left in the memory of the Hindus, Hinduism would live forever" -- Mahatma Gandhi


Eknath Easwaran Translation

("The Inner Ruler")

All this is full. All that is full.

From fullness, fullness comes.

When fullness is taken from fullness,

Fullness still remains.


O M shanti shanti shanti

1. The Lord is enshrined in the hearts of all.

The Lord is the supreme Reality.

Rejoice in him through renunciation.

Covet nothing. All belongs to the Lord.

2. Thus working may you live a hundred years.

Thus alone will you work.


3. Those who deny the Self are born again

Blind to the Self, enveloped in darkness,

Utterly devoid of love for the Lord.


4. The Self is one. Ever still, the Self is

Swifter than thought, swifter than the senses.

Though motionless, he outruns all pursuit.

Without the Self, never could life exist.


5. The Self seems to move, but is ever still.

He seems far away, but is ever near.

He is within all, and he transcends all.


6. Those who see all creatures in themselves

And themselves in all creatures know no fear.

7. Those who see all creatures in themselves

And themselves in all creatures know no grief.

How can the multiplicity of life

Delude the one who sees its unity?


8. The Self is everywhere. Bright is the Self,

Indivisible, untouched by sin, wise,

Immanent and transcendent. He it is

Who holds the cosmos together.


9-11. In dark night live those for whom

The world without alone is real; in night

Darker still, for whom the world within

Alone is real. The first leads to a life

Of action, the second to a life of meditation.

But those who combine action with meditation

Cross the sea of death through action

And enter into immortality

Through the practice of meditation.

So have we heard from the wise.


12-14. In dark night live those for whom the Lord

Is transcendent only; in darker still,

For whom he is immanent only.

But those for whom he is transcendent

And immanent cross the sea of death

With the immanent and enter into

Immortality with the transcendent.

So have we heard from the wise.


15. The face of truth is hidden by your orb

Of gold, O sun. May you remove your orb

So that I, who adore the true, may see

16. The glory of truth. O nourishing sun,

Solitary traveler, controller,

Source of life for all creatures, spread your light

And subdue your dazzling splendor

So that I may see your blessed Self.

Even that very Self am I!


17. May my life merge in the Immortal

When my body is reduced to ashes.

O mind, meditate on the eternal Brahman.

Remember the deeds of the past.

Remember, O mind, remember.


18. O god of fire, lead us by the good path

To eternal joy. You know all our deeds.

Deliver us from evil, we who bow

And pray again and again.


O M shanti shanti shanti



R. C. Zaehner Translation

("The Lord - Transcendent Without, Immanent Within")

"None hath attained tothy sovereignty and power, None to thine undaunted spirit,--none."

1. This whole universe must be pervaded by a Lord

--Whatever moves in this moving world.

Abandon it, and then enjoy:

Covet not the goods of anyone at all.


2. Performing ritual works on earth a man

May wish to live a hundred years:

This, not otherwise, is true for thee;

A man is not defiled by works.


3. Some worlds there are called "devilish"

In blind darkness swathed:

To these at death such folk pass on

As seek to slay the (Higher) Self.


4. Unmoving--One--swifter than thought (manas),--

The gods could not seize hold of It as it sped before (them):

Standing, It overtakes (all) others as they run;

In It the wind incites activity.


5. It moves. It moves not.

It is far, yet It is near:

It is within this whole universe,

And yet It is without it.


6. Those who see all beings in the Self,

And the Self in all beings

Will never shrink from It.


7. When once one understands that in oneself

(Of) the greater Self become all beings,

When once one has seen the unity,

What room is there for sorrow?

What room for perplexity?


8. He, the wise Sage, all-conquering, self-existent,

Encompassed that which is resplendent,

Incorporeal, invulnerable,

Devoid of sinews, pure, unpierced by evil:

(All) things He ordered each according to its nature

For years unending.


9. Blind darkness enter they

Who revere only the transcendent (or unrevealed):

Into a darkness blinder yet

(Go they) who delight only in the immanent (or revealed).


10. Other, they say, than what becomes,

Other, they say, than what does not become:

So from wise men have we heard

Who instructed us therein.


11. Coming to be and perishing,--

Who knows these both together,

By "perishing" surpasses death,

By "coming to be" wins deathlessness.


12. Blind darkness enter they

Who reverence unwisdom:

Into a darkness blinder yet

(Go they) who delight in wisdom.


13. Other, they say, than wisdom,

Other than unwisdom (too), they say:

So from wise men have we heard

Who instructed us therein.


14. Wisdom and unwisdom--

Who knows these both together,

By "unwisdom" surpasses death,

By "wisdom" reaches deathlessness.


15. Wind and immortal breath,

And then this body whose end is in ashes:

Om, O mind remember; what's done remember;

O mind remember; what's done remember.


16. Lead us, O god of fire, along fair paths to riches,

Thou who knowest every way;

Repel from us the fault that leads astray.

May we compile for thee a most fulsome hymn of homage.


17. The face of truth is hidden

By the golden vessel (of the sun):

That person yonder (hidden) in the sun,

I in truth am He.


18. O Lord of the Path, single seer, O god of death, O sun, born of the Lord of Creations,

Display thy rays, diffuse thy light;

That form of thine which is most fair I see:

That Person yonder, (hidden), I am He.


TheKena Upanishad (Kenopanishad)

Shri AurobindoTranslation

("By Whom or by What?")

First Part

1. By whom commissioned falls the (arrow of the) mind shot toits mark? By whom yoked moves the first life-breath forward on its paths?By whom impelled is this word that men speak? What god set eye and ear totheir workings?


2. THAT which is hearing of our hearing, mind of our mind, speechof our speech, THAT too is life of our lifebreath and sight of our sight.The wise are released beyond and they pass from this world and become immortal.


3. There sight travels not, nor speech, nor the mind. We know Itnot nor can distinguish how one should teach of It: for It is other thanthe known; It is there above the unknown. It is as we have heard from menof old who declared THAT to our understanding.


4. THAT which is unexpressed by the word, THAT by which the wordis expressed, know THAT to be the Brahman--the great Ultimate Reality--andnot this which men follow after here.


5. THAT which thinks not by the mind, THAT by which the mind is thought,know THAT to be the Brahman and not this which men follow after here.


6. THAT which sees not with the eye, THAT by which one sees the eye'sseeings, know THAT to be the Brahman and not this which men follow afterhere.


7. THAT which hears not with the ear, THAT by which the ear's hearingis heard, know THAT to be the Brahman and not this which men follow afterhere.


8. THAT which breaths not with the breath, THAT by which the life-breathis led forward in its paths, know THAT to be the Brahman and not this whichmen follow after here.

Second Part

1. If thou thinkest that thou knowest It well, little indeed dostthou know the form of the Brahman. That of It which is thou, that of Itwhich is in the gods, this thou hast to think out. I think It known.


2. I think not that I know It well and yet I know that It is notunknown to me. He is of us who knows It, knows THAT; he knows that It isnot unknown to him.


3. He by whom It is not thought out, has the thought of It; he bywhom It is thought out, knows it not. It is unknown to the discernment ofthose who discern of It; by those who seek not to discern of It, It is discerned.


4. When It is known by perception that reflects It, then one hasthe thought of It, for one finds immortality; by the self one finds theforce to attain and by the knowledge one finds immortality.


5. If here one comes to that knowledge, then one truly is; if hereone comes not to the knowledge, then great is the perdition. The wise distinguishTHAT in all kinds of becomings and they pass forward from this world andbecome immortal.

Third Part

1. The Eternal conquered for the gods and in the victory of theEternal the gods grew to greatness. (This is what they saw--in theirillusion of self-sufficiency): "Ours the victory, ours the greatness."


2. The Eternal knew their thought and appeared before them; and theyknew not what was this mighty Daemon.


3. They said to Agni--the god of material fire andknower of form, "O thou that knowest all things born, learn of thisthing, what may be this mighty Daemon," and he said, "Sobe it."


4. He rushed toward the Eternal and It said to him, "Who artthou?" "I am Agni," he said, "I am he that knows allthings born."


5. "Since such thou art, what is the force in thee?" (Hereplied), "Even all this I could burn, all that is upon the earth."


6. The Eternal set before him a blade of grass, "This burn."And he made toward it with all his speed, but he could not burn it. Therehe ceased, and turned back, (saying): "I could not know of It,what might be this mighty Daemon."


7. Then they said to Vayu, the god of the life-breathand the knower of growth and vitality, "O Vayu, this discern, whatis this mighty Daemon." He said, "So be it."


8. He rushed upon THAT; It said to him, "Who art thou?""I am Vayu," he said, "and I am he that expands in the Motherof things."


9. "Since such thou art, what is the force in thee?" And hereplied: "Even all this I can take for myself, all this that is uponthe earth."


10. THAT set before him a blade of grass, "This take."He went toward it with all his speed and he could not take it. Even therehe ceased, even thence he returned, (saying): "l could not discernof THAT, this mighty Daemon."


11. Then they said to Indra, the god of divine mindand the knower of thought forms, "Master of plenitudes, get thou theknowledge, what is this mighty Daemon." He said, "So beit." He rushed upon THAT. THAT vanished from before him.


12. He, (Indra), in the same ether came upon the Woman--theMother Space, the Celestial Virgin--even upon Her who shines out in manyforms, Uma daughter of the snowy summits. To Her he said, "Whatwas this mighty Daemon?"

Fourth Part

1. She said to him, "It is the Eternal. Of the Eternal is this victory in which you shall grow to greatness." Then alone he came to know that this was the Brahman, the Ultimate Reality.


2. Therefore are these gods, as it were, beyond all the other gods, even Agni and Vayu and Indra, because they came nearest to the touch of THAT . . .


3. Therefore is Indra, as it were, beyond all the other gods because he came nearest to the touch of THAT, because he first knew that It was the Brahman.


4. Now this is the indication of THAT,--as is this flash of lightning upon us or as is this falling of the eyelid, so in that which is of the gods.


5. Then in that which is of the Self,--as the motion of this mind seems to attain to THAT and by it afterward the will in the thought continually remembers It.


6. The name of THAT is "That Delight"; as That Delight, one should follow after It. He who so knows THAT, toward him verily all existences yearn.


7. Thou hast said, "Speak to me Upanishad--the Inner Knowledge." Spoken to thee is Inner Knowledge. Of the Eternal verily is the Upanishad that we have spoken.


8. Of this knowledge austerity and self-conquest and works are the foundation, the Vedas--the books of knowledge--are all its limbs, truth is its dwelling place.


9. He who knows this knowledge smites evil away from him, and in that vaster world and infinite heaven finds his foundation, yea, he finds his foundation.


Eknath Easwaran Translation

("Who Moves the World?")



1. The student inquires:

"Who makes my mind think?

Who fills my body with vitality?

Who causes my tongue to speak? Who is that

Invisible one who sees through my eyes

And hears through my ears?"


2. The teacher replies:

"The Self is the ear of the ear,

The eye of the eye, the mind of the mind,

The word of words, and the life of life.

Rising above the senses and the mind

And renouncing separate existence,

The wise realize the deathless Self.


3. "Him our eyes cannot see, nor words express;

He cannot be grasped even by the mind.

We do not know, we cannot understand,

4. Because he is different from the known

And he is different from the unknown.

Thus have we heard from the illumined ones.


5. "That which makes the tongue speak but cannot be

Spoken by the tongue, know that as the Self.

This Self is not someone other than you.


6. "That which makes the mind think but cannot be

Thought by the mind, that is the Self indeed.

This Self is not someone other than you.


7. "That which makes the eye see but cannot be

Seen by the eye, that is the Self indeed.

This Self is not someone other than you.


8. "That which makes the ear hear but cannot be

Heard by the ear, that is the Self indeed.

This Self is not someone other than you.


9. "That which makes you draw breath but cannot be

Drawn by your breath, that is the Self indeed.

This self is not someone other than you."



1. If you think, "I know the Self," you know not.

All you can see is his external form.

Continue, therefore, your meditation.


2. I do not think I know the Self, nor can

I say I know him not.



There is only one way to know the Self,

And that is to realize him yourself.


3. The ignorant think the Self can be known

By the intellect, but the illumined

Know he is beyond the duality

Of the knower and the known.


4. The Self is realized in a higher state

Of consciousness when you have broken through

The wrong identification that you are

The body, subject to birth and death.

To be the Self is to go beyond death.


5. Realize the Self, the shining goal of life!

If you do not, there is only darkness.

See the Self in all, and go beyond death.


1. Once upon a time the gods defeated

The demons; and though the victory

Was brought about through the power of Brahman,

The gods boasted, "Ours is the victory,

And ours the power and glory."


2. Brahman saw their foolish pride and appeared

Before them. But they recognized him not.

3. They said to Agni, God of fire, "Find out

Who this mysterious being is." "I will,"

4. Promised Agni and approached the being.


"Who are you?" asked the mysterious one.

"I am Agni, god of fire, known to all."

5. "Are you powerful?" "I can burn all on earth."

6. "Burn this": and Brahman placed a straw in front.

The god of fire attacked the straw, but failed

To burn it. Then he ran back to the gods

And confessed, "I have failed to discover

Who this mysterious being is."


7. They said to Vayu, god of air, "Find out

Who this mysterious being is." "I will,"

8. Promised Vayu and approached the being.

"Who are you?" asked the mysterious being.

"I am Vayu, god of air, king of space."

9. "Are you powerful?" "I can blow all away."

10. "Blow this away." Brahman placed a straw in front.

The god of air attacked the straw, but failed

To move it. Then he ran back to the gods

And confessed, "I have failed to discover

Who this mysterious being is."


11. They begged Indra, leader of gods, "Find out

Who this mysterious being is." "I will,"

Promised Indra and approached the being,

12. Who disappeared instantly. In his place

Appeared the lovely goddess of wisdom,

Uma, daughter of the Himalayas;

And Indra asked her, "Who was that being?"


1. Uma replied, "That was Brahman, from whom

Comes all your power and glory." The gods

Realized at last (that) the Self is Brahman.

2-3. Agni, Vayu, Indra--these three excel

Among the gods because they realized Brahman.


4. The light of Brahman flashes in lightning,

The light of Brahman flashes in our eyes.

5. It is the power of Brahman that makes

6. The mind to think, desire, and will. Therefore

Use this power to meditate on Brahman.


He is the innermost Self of everyone;

He alone is worthy of all our love.

Meditate upon him in all. Those who

Meditate upon him are dear to all.


7. Teach me more of this spiritual wisdom.


I shall share with you fully what I know.

8. Meditation, control of the senses

And passions, and selfless service of all

Are the body, the Scriptures are the limbs,

And truth is the heart of this wisdom.


9. Those who realize Brahman shall conquer

All evil and attain the supreme state.

Truly they shall attain the supreme state!

O M shanti shanti shanti


R. C. Zaehner Translation

("By Whom Sent Forth, By Whom Impelled?")


1. By whom sent forth, [by whom] impelled soars forth the mind? By whom enjoined does the breath go forth, the first?

By whom impelled do men make loud this utterance?

Eye--ear: what god enjoins them?


2. Ear of the ear, mind of the mind,

Voice of the voice, He too is the breath of breath,

Eye of the eye: transcending [all] the wise,

Departing from this world, become immortal.


3. There no eye can penetrate,

No voice, no mind can penetrate:

We do not know, we do not understand

How one should teach it.


Other it is, for sure, than what is known,

Beyond [the scope of] the unknown too.

So have we heard from men of old who instructed us therein.


4. That which cannot be expressed by speech,

By which speech [itself] is uttered,

That is Brahman--know thou [this]--

Not that which is honored here as such.


5. That which thinks not by the mind,

By which, they say, the mind is thought,

That is Brahman--know thou [this]--

Not that which is honored here as such.


6. That which sees not by the eye,

By which the eyes have sight,

That is Brahman--know thou [this]--

Not that which is honored here as such.


7. That which hears not by the ear,

By which this ear is heard,

That is Brahman--know thou [this]--

Not that which is honored here as such.


8. That which breathes not by the breath,

By which breath is drawn in,

That is Brahman--know thou [this]--

Not that which is honored here as such.


[The teacher speaks:]

1. Shouldst thou think, "I know [It] well," now little indeed

thou knowest,--a form of Brahman,--what of It is thou, what

of It is among the gods. Think then upon It seriously.


[The pupil:]

I think I know It.


[The teacher:]

2. I do not think, "I know It well,"

I do not know, "I do not know";

He of us who knows It, knows It,

He does not know, "I know It not."


3. Who thinks not on It, by him It's thought:

Who thinks upon It, does not know,--

Un-understood by those who understand,

By those who understand not understood.


4. Known by an awakening It is seized upon by thought,

And so a man finds immortality:

By the Self one valor wins,

By wisdom immortality.


5. If one has known [It] here, then is there truth;

If one has here not known [It], great is the destruction:

Discerning It in each contingent being,

Wise men, departing from this world, become immortal.



1. Now Brahman won a victory for the gods, and the gods

were exulting in the victory of that Brahman. They thought:

"This victory belongs to us, this majesty belongs to us."

2. Brahman was well aware of what they [were thinking],

and so he made himself visible to them. They did not recognize

Him. "What is this strange creature (yaksha)?" they said.

3. They said to Agni, [the fire god]: "Jatavedas ['all-knowing'

or 'all-possessing'], look into this right away [and find out]

what this strange creature is."

"All right," said [Agni].

4. He ran off to Him, and He said to him, "Who are you?"

"I am Agni," he replied; "I am Jatavedas."

5. "Well, if that is so, what powers have you?"

"I could burn up everything here in this [whole wide] world!"

6. [Brahman] put a straw down in front of him and said,

"Burn that." He rushed at it at full speed, but could not burn it.

So he returned and said, "I could not find out what this strange creature was."

7. Then they said to Vayu, [the wind-god]: "Vayu, look into this right away

[and find out] what this strange creature is." "All right," said [Vayu].


8. He ran up to Him, and He said to him, "Who are you?"

"I am Vayu," he replied, "I am Matarishvan" ['He who extends himself

in the Mother or the Container,' Master of life]."

9. "Well, if that is so, what powers have you?"

"I could carry off everything here in this [whole wide] world."

10. [Brahman] put a straw down in front of him and said,

"Carry it off." He rushed at it at full speed but could not carry it off.

So he returned and said, "I could not find out what this strange creature was."

11. Then they said to Indra: "Naghavan ['bountiful'],

look into this right away [and find out] what this strange creature is. "

"All right," said [Indra].

He ran up to Him, but He disappeared from his sight.

12. In that very place he happened to meet a woman of great beauty,--

Uma [Shiva's consort in later tradition], Himavat's [Himalaya's] daughter;

and he asked her what that strange creature might be.


1. She said: "It is Brahman, and it is in Brahman's victory

that you have been exulting." And straightway [Indra] understood

that it was Brahman.

2. That is why these [three] gods, Agni, Vayu and Indra,

rank rather higher than the other gods, for they came nearest

to touching Him, and it was they [and especially Indra] who

first understood that it was Brahman.

3. That is why Indra ranks rather higher than the other

gods, for he came nearest to touching Him and was the first

to understand that it was Brahman.


4. Now there is this description of Him: "Ah!"--[what people say]

when the lightning flashes,--"Ah!" as they blink their eyes.

So much for the sphere of the gods.

5. Now for the sphere of the [individual] self.

When [a thought] occurs to the mind and the mind recollects

repeatedly,--[this is] conceptual thought (Samkalpa).

6. [Brahman] is called tadvanam ["one who desires it"],

and as such should He be revered. All beings pine for the man

who has this knowledge.


7. [The pupil :] "Sir, tell me the secret doctrine (Upanishad)."


[The teacher:] "You have been told the secret doctrine.

We ourselves have told you the secret doctrine concerning Brahman.

8. "Its basis is ascetic practice, self-restraint, and works (karma),

the Vedas and all the treatises that depend on them (vedanga, or,

'the Vedas are all its limbs'). Truth is [its] dwelling place."

9. Whoever knows this [doctrine] in this way will vanquish evil

and find his home in the infinite, unconquerable (alveye)

world of heaven--[there] will he find his home.

The Katha Upanishad (Kathopanishad - Part I, Chapter 3)

The Path to Knowledge of the REAL

(1) There are two that partake of the Cosmic Order in the Worldof good deeds. Both have entered into the secret Cave (of the heart)in the superior, the upper worlds of being. Those who know the SecretTeachings (Brahmavidah--those who know the one ultimate Reakity) andthose Five-Fired ones (the Good Householders who work in the five levelsor with the five principles of the manifest reality) who have kindledthe triple Nachiketas Fire (the Kundalini creative serpent-fire),know them as Light (Mahat--the projection of the Shanta Atman--the SilentWitness) and Shade (Buddhi--the intuitive Inner Knower or Jnana Atman).[In the terminology of mystic masonry, these are the Sons of Seth andthe Sons of Cain.]

(2) We are able to master that Nachaketas Fire which is the Bridgeof those who sacrifice, and which (leads to) the highest imperishableBrahman, the fearless Other Shore for those who wish to cross.

(3) Know the innermost Spiritual Self (Atman)--the ONE LIFE--asLord of the Chariot, the physical body as the Chariot itself;know the Inner Intuitive knower (Buddhi) to be the Charioteerand the concrete mind (Manas) as the Reins.

(4) The senses and emotions, they say, are the Horses, theinner and outer sense-objects the Path on which they run. The innermostSpiritual Self (Atman)--the ONE LIFE--united to senses and mind issaid by the wise to be the Experiencer (bhokta) (the masteror Passenger).

(5) He who is without intuitive judgment and whose mind (Manas)is not constantly controlled, his senses and emotions become unmanageablelike the vicious horses of a charioteer.

(6) But he who has intuitive judgment, whose mind is ever held firm,his senses and emotions are controllable like the good horses of a charioteer.

(7) He who is without intuitive judgment and is of uncontrolled mind,ever impure, he does not reach the ultimate goal but wanders in the Oceanof the World.

(8) But he who has intuitive judgment and is of controlled mind,ever pure, he attains that goal (padam) (of Conscious Immortality)whence he is born no more.

(9) The man (or woman) who has intuitive judgment as his orher Charioteer, and the mind as Reins, gains the End of the Road. That isthe Supreme Abode of the All-Pervading Spirit (Vishnu--the ONE LIFE--theFire of the Father).


(10) (Higher than inertial matter and form are the activeworking senses;)

Higher than these senses are the (subtle) objects of sense (thethought-forms projected by the imagination onto the desire nature);

Higher than those objects is the (concrete) mind (Manas) (whichprojected them);

Higher than Manas (the concrete mind) is the Buddhi (Intuition--theInner Knower--Root Earth);

Higher than Buddhi (the Intuition) is the Great Self (Mahat Atman)(the Great World Soul--Hiranyagarbha--the Divine Cosmic Pattern or WorldOrder--the Divine Spirit--Son/Daughter--Root Air);

(11) Higher than the Mahat (this "Great Self") isthe Unmanifest (Chaos--the First Matter of the Absolute--the Divine Motheror Celestial Virgin--the Matrix or Mother-Space of the Objective World--RootWater);

Higher than the Unmanifest (Chaos) is the Purusha (theONE LIFE--the pure Spirit of the innermost SELF--Shanta Atman--the PeacefulI AM, the Silent Witness--the Divine Father-Root Fire),

Than the Purusha (this ONE LIFE) there is nothing higher.

He is the End (the Pillar marking the boundary of the Great Void of theAbsolute), He the ultimate (Reality) (and Supreme) Goal.


(12) Hidden in all things, this Atman (the ONE LIFE) is yetnot visible. He is to be seen, however, by the keen and subtle Buddhi(inner vision) of those who are seers of the subtle (the REAL).


(13) The wise should dissolve Speech (and all of the senseswith their inner and outer objects) in the Manas (concrete mind),and that (Manas or mind) (then dissolved) in the Knowledge-Self(Jnana Atman, Buddhi or intuitive Inner Knower). That (intuitional)"Knowledge Self" he should dissolve in the Great Self (MahatAtman, Divine Cosmic Pattern or Hiranyagarbha) and that (dissolved)in the Shanta Atman (Silent Witness or innermost Spirit) or PeacefulSelf (the ONE LIFE).


The Kathopanishad (Complete)

Death as the Teacher

(Eknath Easwaran Translation)






1. Once, long ago, Vajasravasa gave away his possessions to gain religious merit.

2. He had a son named Nachiketa who, though only a boy, was full of faith in the scriptures. Nachiketa thought when the offerings were made:

3. "What merit can one obtain by giving away cows that are too old to give milk?"

4. To help his father understand this, Nachiketa said: "To whom will you offer me?" He asked this again and again. "To death I give you!" said his father in anger.


5. The son thought: "I go, the first of many who will die, in the midst of many who are dying, on a mission to Yama, king of death.

6. See how it was with those who came before, How it will be with those who are living. Like corn mortals ripen and fall; like corn They come up again."


Nachiketa went to Yama's abode, but the king of death was not there. He waited three days. When Yama returned, he heard a voice say:


7. "When a spiritual guest enters the house,

Like a bright flame, he must be received well,

8. With water to wash his feet. Far from wise

Are those who are not hospitable

To such a guest. They will lose all their hopes,

The religious merit they have acquired,

Their sons and their cattle."




9. O spiritual guest, I grant you three boons

To atone for the three inhospitable nights

You have spent in my abode.

Ask for three boons, one for each night.




10. O king of death, as the first of these boons

Grant that my father's anger be appeased,

So he may recognize me when I return

And receive me with love.




11. I grant that your father, The son of Uddalaka and Aruna,

Will love you as in the past. When he sees you

Released from the jaws of death, he will sleep

Again with a mind at peace.




12. There is no fear at all in heaven; for you

Are not there, neither old age nor death.

Passing beyond hunger and thirst and pain,

All rejoice in the kingdom of heaven.

13. You know the fire sacrifice that leads to heaven,

O king of death. I have full faith

In you and ask for instruction. Let this

Be your second boon to me.




14. Yes, I do know, Nachiketa, and shall

Teach you the fire sacrifice that leads

To heaven and sustains the world, that knowledge

Concealed in the heart. Now listen.




15. Then the king of death taught Nachiketa how to perform the fire sacrifice, how to erect the altar for worshipping the fire from which the universe evolves. When the boy repeated his instruction, the dread king of death was well pleased and said:




16. Let me give you a special boon: this sacrifice

Shall be called by your name, Nachiketa.

Accept from me this many-hued chain too.

17. Those who have thrice performed this sacrifice

Realized their unity with father, mother,

And teacher, and discharged the three duties

Of studying the scriptures, ritual worship

And giving alms to those in need, rise above

Birth and death. Knowing the god of fire

Born of Brahman, they attain perfect peace.

18. Those who carry out this triple duty

Conscious of its full meaning will shake off

The dread noose of death and transcend sorrow

To enjoy the world of heaven.


19. Thus have I granted you the second boon,

Nachiketa, the secret of the fire

That leads to heaven. It will have your name.

Ask now, Nachiketa, for the third boon.




20. When a person dies, there arises this doubt:

"He still exists," say some; "he does not,"

Say others. I want you to teach me the truth.

This is my third boon.




21. This doubt haunted even the gods of old;

For the secret of death is hard to know.

Nachiketa, ask for some other boon

And release me from my promise.




22. This doubt haunted even the gods of old;

For it is hard to know, O Death, as you say.

I can have no greater teacher than you,

And there is no boon equal to this.




23. Ask for sons and grandsons who will live

A hundred years. Ask for herds of cattle,

Elephants and horses, gold and vast land,

And ask to live as long as you desire.

24. Or, if you can think of anything more

Desirable, ask for that, with wealth and

Long life as well. Nachiketa, be the ruler

Of a great kingdom, and I will give you

The utmost capacity to enjoy

25. The pleasures of life. Ask for beautiful

Women of loveliness rarely seen on earth,

Riding in chariots, skilled in music,

To attend on you. But Nachiketa,

Don't ask me about the secret of death.




26. These pleasures last but until tomorrow,

And they wear out the vital powers of life.

How fleeting is all life on earth! Therefore

Keep your horses and chariots, dancing

27. And music, for yourself. Never can mortals

Be made happy by wealth. How can we be

Desirous of wealth when we see your face

And know we cannot live while you are here?

This is the boon I choose and ask you for.


28. Having approached an immortal like you,

How can I, subject to old age and death,

Ever try to rejoice in a long life

For the sake of the senses' fleeting pleasures?

29. Dispel this doubt of mine, O king of death:

Does a person live after death or does he not?

Nachiketa asks for no other boon

Than the secret of this great mystery.




Having tested young Nachiketa and found him fit to receive spiritual instruction, Yama, king of death, said:




1. The joy of the Atman ever abides,

But not what seems pleasant to the senses.

Both these, differing in their purpose, prompt

Man to action. All is well for those who choose

The joy of the Atman, but they miss

The goal of life who prefer the pleasant.

2. Perennial joy or passing pleasure?

This is the choice one is to make always.

The wise recognize these two, but not

The ignorant. The first welcome what leads

To abiding joy, though painful at the time.

The latter run, goaded by their senses,

After what seems immediate pleasure.


3. Well have you renounced these passing pleasures

So dear to the senses, Nachiketa,

And turned your back on the way of the world

Which makes mankind forget the goal of life.

4. Far apart are wisdom and ignorance.

The first leads one to Self-realization;

The second makes one more and more

Estranged from his real Self. I regard you,

Nachiketa, worthy of instruction,

For passing pleasures tempt you not at all.


5. Ignorant of their ignorance, yet wise

In their own esteem, these deluded men

Proud of their vain learning go round and round

6. Like the blind led by the blind. Far beyond

Their eyes, hypnotized by the world of sense,

Opens the way to immortality.

"I am my body; when my body dies,

I die." Living in this superstition

They fall life after life under my sway.


7. It is but few who hear about the Self.

Fewer still dedicate their lives to its

Realization. Wonderful is the one

Who speaks about the Self; rare are they

Who make it the supreme goal of their lives.

Blessed are they who, through an illumined

Teacher, attain to Self-realization.


8. The truth of the Self cannot come through one

Who has not realized that he is the Self.

The intellect cannot reveal the Self

Beyond its duality of subject

And object. They who see themselves in all

And all in them help others through spiritual

Osmosis to realize the Self themselves.


9. This awakening you have known comes not

Through logic and scholarship, but from

Close association with a realized teacher.

Wise are you, Nachiketa, because you seek

The Self eternal. May we have more

Seekers like you!




10. I know that earthly treasures are transient

And never can I reach the eternal through them.

Hence have I renounced all my desires for earthly treasures

To win the eternal through your instruction.




I spread before your eyes, Nachiketa,

The fulfillment of all worldly desires:

Power to dominate the earth, delights

Celestial gained through religious rites,

Miraculous powers beyond time and space.

These with will and wisdom have you renounced.


12. The wise, realizing through meditation

The timeless Self, beyond all perception,

Hidden in the cave of the heart,

Leave pain and pleasure far behind.

13. Those who know they are neither body nor mind

But the immemorial Self, the divine

Principle of existence, find the source

Of all joy and live in joy abiding.

I see the gates of joy are opening

For you, Nachiketa.




14. Teach me of That you see as beyond right

And wrong, cause and effect, past and future.




15. I will give you the Word all the scriptures

Glorify, all spiritual disciplines

Express, to attain which aspirants lead

A life of sense-restraint and self-naughting.

16. It is O M. This symbol of the Godhead

Is the highest. Realizing it one finds

Complete fulfillment of all one's longings.

17. It is of the greatest support to all seekers.

Those in whose hearts O M reverberates

Unceasingly are indeed blessed

And deeply loved as one who is the Self.


18. The all-knowing Self was never born,

Nor will it die. Beyond cause and effect,

This Self is eternal and immutable.

When the body dies, the Self does not die.

19. If the slayer believes that he can slay

Or the slain believes that he can be slain,

Neither knows the truth. The eternal Self

Slays not, nor is ever slain.


20. Hidden in the heart of every creature

Exists the Self, subtler than the subtlest,

Greater than the greatest. They go beyond

Sorrow who extinguish their self-will

And behold the glory of the Self

Through the grace of the Lord of Love.


21. Though one sits in meditation in a

Particular place, the Self within

Can exercise his influence far away.

Though still, he moves everything everywhere.


22. When the wise realize the Self

Formless in the midst of forms, changeless

In the midst of change, omnipresent

And supreme, they go beyond sorrow.


23. The Self cannot be known through study

Of the scriptures, nor through the intellect,

Nor through hearing learned discourses.

The Self can be attained only by those

Whom the Self chooses. Verily unto them

Does the Self reveal himself.


24. The Self cannot be known by anyone

Who desists not from unrighteous ways,

Controls not his senses, stills not his mind,

And practices not meditation.

25. None else can know the omnipresent Self,

Whose glory sweeps away the rituals

Of the priest and the prowess of the warrior

And puts death itself to death.




1. In the secret cave of the heart, two are seated

By life's fountain. The separate ego

Drinks of the sweet and bitter stuff,

Liking the sweet, disliking the bitter,

While the supreme Self drinks sweet and bitter

Neither liking this nor disliking that.

The ego gropes in darkness, while the Self

Lives in light. So declare the illumined sages

And the householders who worship

The sacred fire in the name of the Lord.


2. May we light the fire of Nachiketa

That burns out the ego and enables us

To pass from fearful fragmentation

To fearless fullness in the changeless whole.


3. Know the Self as lord of the chariot,

The body as the chariot itself,

The discriminating intellect as charioteer,

And the mind as reins.

4. The senses, say the wise, are the horses;

Selfish desires are the roads they travel.

When the Self is confused with the body,

Mind, and senses, they point out, he seems

To enjoy pleasure and suffer sorrow.


5. When one lacks discrimination

And his mind is undisciplined, the senses

Run hither and thither like wild horses.

6. But they obey the rein like trained horses

When one has discrimination and has made

The mind one-pointed. Those who lack

Discrimination, with little control

Over their thoughts and far from pure,

Reach not the pure state of immortality

8. But wander from death to death; but those

Who have discrimination, with a still mind

And a pure heart, reach journey's end,

Never again to fall into the jaws of death.

9. With a discriminating intellect

As charioteer and a trained mind as reins,

They attain the supreme goal of life

To be united with the Lord of Love.


10. The senses derive from objects of sense-perception,

Sense objects from mind, mind from intellect.

And intellect from ego;

11. Ego from undifferentiated consciousness,

And consciousness from Brahman.

Brahman is the first cause and last refuge.

12. Brahman, the hidden Self in everyone

Does not shine forth. He is revealed only

To those who keep their mind one-pointed

On the Lord of Love and thus develop

A superconscious manner of knowing.

13. Meditation enables them to go

Deeper and deeper into consciousness,

From the world of words to the world of thoughts,

Then beyond thoughts to wisdom in the Self.


14. Get up! Wake up! Seek the guidance of an

Illumined teacher and realize the Self.

Sharp like a razor's edge, the sages say,

Is the path, difficult to traverse.


15. The supreme Self is beyond name and form,

Beyond the senses, inexhaustible,

Without beginning, without end, beyond

Time, space, and causality, eternal,

Immutable. Those who realize the Self

Are forever free from the jaws of death.


16. The wise, who gain experiential knowledge

Of this timeless tale of Nachiketa,

Narrated by Death, attain the glory

Of living in spiritual awareness.

Those who, full of devotion, recite this

Supreme mystery at a spiritual

Gathering, are fit for eternal life.

They are indeed fit for eternal life.






1. The self-existent Lord pierced the senses

To turn outward. Thus we look to the world

Outside and see not the Self within us.

A sage withdrew his senses from the world

Of change and, seeking immortality,

Looked within and beheld the deathless Self.


2. The immature run after sense pleasures

And fall into the widespread net of death.

But the wise, knowing the Self as deathless,

Seek not the changeless in the world of change.


3. That through which one enjoys form, taste, smell, sound,

Touch, and sexual union is the Self.

Can there be anything not known to That

Who is the One in all? Know One, know all.

4. That through which one enjoys the waking

And sleeping states is the Self. To know That

As consciousness is to go beyond sorrow.


5. Those who know the Self as enjoyer

Of the honey from the flowers of the senses,

Ever present within, ruler of time,

Go beyond fear. For this Self is supreme!


6. The god of creation, Brahma,

Born of the Godhead through meditation

Before the waters of life were created,

Who stands in the heart of every creature,

Is the Self indeed. For this Self is supreme!


7. The goddess of energy, Aditi,

Born of the Godhead through vitality,

Mother of all the cosmic forces

Who stands in the heart of every creature,

Is the Self indeed. For this Self is supreme!


8. The god of fire, Agni, hidden between

Two firesticks like a child well protected

In the mother's womb, whom we adore

Every day in meditation,

Is the Self indeed. For this Self is supreme!


9. That which is the source of the sun

And of every power in the cosmos, beyond which

There is neither going nor coming,

Is the Self indeed. For this Self is supreme!


What is here is also there; what is there,

Also here. Who sees multiplicity

But not the one indivisible Self

Must wander on and on from death to death.


11. Only the one-pointed mind attains

This state of unity. There is no one

But the Self. Who sees multiplicity

But not the one indivisible Self

Must wander on and on from death to death.


12. That thumb-sized being enshrined in the heart,

Ruler of time, past and future,

To see whom is to go beyond all fear,

Is the Self indeed. For this Self is supreme!


13. That thumb-sized being, a flame without smoke,

Ruler of time, past and future,

The same on this day as on tomorrow,

Is the Self indeed. For this Self is supreme!


14. As the rain on a mountain peak runs off

The slopes on all sides, so those who see

Only the seeming multiplicity of life

Run after things on every side.


15. As pure water poured into pure water

Becomes the very same, so does the Self

Of the illumined man or woman, Nachiketa,

Verily become one with the Godhead.




1. There is a city with eleven gates

Of which the ruler is the unborn Self,

Whose light forever shines. They go beyond

Sorrow who meditate on the Self

And are freed from the cycle of birth and death.

For this Self is supreme!


2. The Self is the sun shining in the sky,

The wind blowing in space; he is the fire

At the altar and in the home the guest;

He dwells in human beings, in gods, in truth,

And in the vast firmament; he is the fish

Born in water, the plant growing in the earth,

The river flowing down from the mountain.

For this Self is supreme!


3. The adorable one who is seated

In the heart rules the breath of life.

Unto him all the senses pay their homage.

4. When the dweller in the body breaks out

In freedom from the bonds of flesh, what remains?

For this Self is supreme!


5. We live not by the breath that flows in

And flows out, but by him who causes the breath

To flow in and flow out.


6. Now, O Nachiketa, I will tell you

Of this unseen, eternal Brahman, and

7. What befalls the Self after death. Of those

Unaware of the Self, some are born as

Embodied creatures while others remain

In a lower stage of evolution,

As determined by their own need for growth.


8. That which is awake even in our sleep,

Giving form in dreams to the objects of

Sense craving, that indeed is pure light,

Brahman the immortal, who contains all

The cosmos, and beyond whom none can go.

For this Self is supreme!


9. As the same fire assumes different shapes

When it consumes objects differing in shape,

So does the one Self take the shape

Of every creature in whom he is present.

10. As the same air assumes different shapes

When it enters objects differing in shape,

So does the one Self take the shape

Of every creature in whom he is present.


11. As the sun, who is the eye of the world,

Cannot be tainted by the defects in our eyes

Or by the objects it looks on,

So the one Self, dwelling in all, cannot

Be tainted by the evils of the world.

For this Self transcends all!


12. The ruler supreme, inner Self of all,

Multiplies his oneness into many.

Eternal joy is theirs who see the Self

In their own hearts. To none else does it come!


13. Changeless amidst the things that pass away,

Pure consciousness in all who are conscious,

The One answers the prayers of many.

Eternal peace is theirs who see the Self

In their own hearts. To none else does it come!




14. How can I know that blissful Self, supreme,

Inexpressible, realized by the wise?

Is he the light, or does he reflect light?




15. There shines not the sun, neither moon nor star

Nor flash of lightning, nor fire lit on earth.

The Self is the light reflected by all.

He shining, everything shines after him.




1. The Tree of Eternity has its roots above

And its branches on earth below.

Its pure root is Brahman the immortal

From whom all the worlds draw their life, and whom

None can transcend. For this Self is supreme!


2. The cosmos comes forth from Brahman and moves

In him. With his power it reverberates

Like thunder crashing in the sky. Those who realize him

Pass beyond the sway of death.


3. In fear of him fire burns, in fear of him

The sun shines, the clouds rain, and the winds blow.

In fear of him death stalks about to kill.


4. If one fails to realize Brahman in this life

Before the physical sheath is shed,

He must again put on a body

In the world of embodied creatures.


5. Brahman can be seen, as in a mirror

In a pure heart; in the world of the ancestors

As in a dream; in the gandharva world

As the reflections in trembling waters;

And clear as light in the realm of Brahma.


6. Knowing the senses to be separate

From the Self, and the sense experience

To be fleeting, the wise grieve no more.


7. Above the senses is the mind,

Above the mind is the intellect,

Above that is the ego, and above the ego

Is the unmanifested Cause.

8. And beyond is Brahman, omnipresent,

Attributeless. Realizing him one is released

From the cycle of birth and death.


9. He is formless, and can never be seen

With these two eyes. But he reveals himself

In the heart made pure through meditation

And sense-restraint. Realizing him one is released

From the cycle of birth and death.


10. When the five senses are stilled, when the mind

Is stilled, when the intellect is stilled,

That is called the highest state by the wise.

11. They say yoga is this complete stillness

In which one enters the unitive state,

Never to become separate again.

If one is not established in this state,

The sense of unity will come and go.


12. The unitive state cannot be attained

Through words or thoughts or through the eye.

How can it be attained except through one

Who is established in this state himself?


13. There are two selves, the separate ego

And the indivisible Atman. When

One rises above I and me and mine,

The Atman is revealed as one's real Self.

14. When all desires that surge in the heart

Are renounced, the mortal becomes immortal.

15. When all the knots that strangle the heart

Are loosened, the mortal becomes immortal.

This sums up the teaching of the scriptures.


16. From the heart there radiate a hundred

And one vital tracks. One of them rises

To the crown of the head. This way leads

To immortality, the others to death.


17. The Lord of Love, not larger than the thumb,

Is ever enshrined in the hearts of all.

Draw him clear out of the physical sheath

As one draws the stalk from the munja grass.

Know thyself to be pure and immortal!

Know thyself to be pure and immortal!




Nachiketa learned from the king of death

The whole discipline of meditation.

Freeing himself from all separateness,

He won immortality in Brahman

So blessed is everyone who knows the Self!


O M shanti shanti shanti




The Mundaka Upanishad (Mundakopanishad)

Two Modes of Knowing

Eknath Easwaran Translation






1. From infinite Godhead came forth Brahma,

First among gods, from whom sprang the cosmos.

Brahma gave the vision of the Godhead,

The true source of wisdom that life demands,

2. To his eldest son, Atharva, who gave it

To Angi. In turn Angi gave it

To Satyavaha. In this tradition

Satyavaha gave it to Angiras.


3. A great householder named Shaunaka once came

To Angiras and reverently asked:

"What is that by knowing which all is known?"

4. He replied: "The illumined sages say

Knowledge is twofold, higher and lower.

5. The study of the Vedas, linguistics,

Rituals, astronomy, and all the arts

Can be called lower knowledge. The higher

Is that which leads to Self-realization."


6. "The eye cannot see it; mind cannot grasp it.

The deathless Self has neither caste nor race,

Neither eyes nor ears nor hands nor feet.

Sages say this Self is infinite in the great

And in the small, everlasting and changeless,

The source of life."


7. "As the web issues out of the spider

And is withdrawn, as plants sprout from the earth,

As hair grows from the body, even so,

The sages say, this universe springs from

The deathless Self, the source of life.


8. "The deathless Self meditated upon

Himself and projected the universe

As evolutionary energy.

From this energy developed life, mind,

The elements, and the world of karma,

Which is enchained by cause and effect."


9. "The deathless Self sees all, knows all. From him

Springs Brahma, who embodies the process

Of evolution into name and form

By which the One appears to be many."




1. The rituals and the sacrifices described

In the Vedas deal with lower knowledge.

The sages ignored these rituals

And went in search of higher knowledge.


2- Look at these rituals: "When the fire is lit,

5. Pour butter into the fire in two spots;

Then place the offering between these two.

These oblations will take the worshipper

6. On the sun's rays to the world of Brahma

Where he can have his fill of enjoyment."*


*The above verses appear to be incomplete in this translation. The following are these verses translated by R. C. Zaehner in his "The Hindu Scriptures":


1. This is the truth:


The (ritual) acts (karma) that the seers beheld in the sacred formulas

Were spread abroad on the threefold [fire]:

O ye who long for truth, perform them constantly,

This is for you the path of [work] well done on earth.


2. For when the flame shows signs of dying down,

Though [the fire] that carries off the offering be lit,

Then should the oblations be offered up

Between the portions of the melted ghee.


3. The man whose oblation to the fire

Is offered up with no New- or Full-Moon rites,

No four-month rites or harvest rites,

Without guests or [honor to] the universal gods,

Or offered in a manner not prescribed,

Or not offered up [at all],

Forfeits for himself worlds up to the seventh [world].


4. Black, Gaping, Swift as thought,

Vermilion, [Brown] as smoke,

Emitting sparks, All-radiant divine,--

These are the seven tongues [of the flame] that is dying down.


5. Whoso performs [the rite] while these are blazing

And receives the oblations at the proper time,--

Him they lead on, [become] the sun's rays [themselves],

To where is the one Lord of the gods, [our] refuge.


7. Such rituals are unsafe rafts for crossing

The sea of samsara, of birth and death.

Doomed to shipwreck are those who try to cross

The sea of samsara on these poor rafts.

8. Ignorant of their ignorance, yet wise

In their own esteem, these deluded men

Proud of their vain learning go round and round

Like the blind led by the blind.


9. Living in darkness, immature, unaware

10. Of any higher good or goal, they fall

Again and again into the sea.


11. But those who are pure in heart, who practice

Meditation and conquer their senses

And passions, shall attain the immortal Self

Source of all light and source of all life.


12. Action prompted by pleasure or profit

Cannot help anyone to cross this sea.

Seek a teacher who has realized the Self

13. To a student whose heart is full of love,

Who has conquered his senses and passions

The teacher will reveal the Lord of Love.






1. Imperishable is the Lord of Love.

As from a blazing fire thousands of sparks

Leap forth, so millions of beings arise

From the Lord of Love and return to him.


2. The Lord of Love is above name and form.

He is present in all and transcends all.

Unborn, without body and without mind,

From him comes every body and mind.

3. He is the source of space, air, fire, water,

And the earth that holds us all.


4. Fire is his head, the sun and moon his eyes,

The heavens his ears, the scriptures his voice,

The air his breath, the universe his heart,

And the earth his footrest. The Lord of Love

Is the innermost Self of all.


5. From him comes the fire that burns in the sun;

From the sky lit by sun and moon comes rain;

From rain comes food, from food the sexual seed;

All finally come from the Lord of Love.


6. From him come the scriptures, chants, and prayers,

Religious rites and sacrificial gifts;

From him come work, time, and givers of gifts,

And all things under the sun and moon.


7. From him come the gods of the natural world,

Men, beasts, and birds, and food to nourish them;

From him come all spiritual disciplines,

Meditation, truth, faith, and purity.


8. From him come the seven organs of sense,

Seven hot desires and their sevenfold objects,

And the seven levels of consciousness

In the cavern of the heart.


9. From him come all the seas and the mountains,

The rivers and the plants that support life.

As the innermost Self of all, he dwells

Within the cavern of the heart.


10. The Lord of Love is the one Self of all.

He is detached work, spiritual wisdom,

And immortality. Realize the Self

Hidden in the heart, and cut asunder

The knot of ignorance here and now.




1. Bright but hidden, the Self dwells in the heart.

Everything that moves, breathes, opens, and closes

Lives in the Self. He is the source of love

And may be known through love but not through thought.

He is the goal of life. Attain this goal!


2. The shining Self dwells hidden in the heart.

Everything in the cosmos, great and small,

Lives in the Self. He is the source of life,

Truth beyond the transience of this world.

He is the goal of life. Attain this goal!


3. Take the great bow of the sacred scriptures,

Place on it the arrow of devotion;

Then draw the bowstring of meditation

And aim at the target, the Lord of Love.

4. The mantram is the bow, the aspirant

Is the arrow, and the Lord the target.

Now draw the bowstring of meditation,

And hitting the target be one with him.


5. In his robe are woven heaven and earth,

Mind and body. Realize him as the One

Behind the many and stop all vain talk.

He is the bridge from death to deathless life.


6. Where all the nerves meet like spokes in a wheel,

There he dwells, the One behind the many.

Meditate upon him in the mantram.

May he guide us from death to deathless life!


7. He knows everyone and sees everything.

It is his glory that fills the cosmos.

He resides in the city of the heart.

8. It is his power that moves body and mind.

May he guide us from death to deathless life!


9. When he is seen within us and without,

He sets right all doubts and dispels the pain

Of wrong actions committed in the past.


10. In the golden city of the heart dwells

The Lord of Love, without parts, without stain.

Know him as the radiant light of lights.


11. There shines not the sun, neither moon nor star,

Nor flash of lightning, nor fire lit on earth.

The Lord is the light reflected by all.

He shining, everything shines after him.


12. The Lord of Love is before and behind.

He extends to the right and to the left.

He extends above; he extends below.

There is no one here but the Lord of Love.

He alone is; in truth, he alone is.






1. Like two golden birds perched on the selfsame tree,

Intimate friends, the ego and the Self

Dwell in the same body. The former eats

The sweet and sour fruits of the tree of life

While the latter looks on in detachment.


2. As long as we think we are the ego,

We feel attached and fall into sorrow.

But realize that you are the Self, the Lord

Of life, and you will be freed from sorrow.

3. When you realize that you are the Self,

Supreme source of light, supreme source of love,

You transcend the duality of life

And enter into the unitive state.


4. The Lord of Love shines in the hearts of all.

Seeing him in all creatures, the wise

Forget themselves in the service of all.

The Lord is their joy, the Lord is their rest;

Such as they are the lovers of the Lord.


5. By truth, meditation, and self-control

One can enter into this state of joy

And see the Self shining in a pure heart.


6. Truth is victorious, never untruth.

Truth is the way; truth is the goal of life,

Reached by sages who are free from self-will.


7. The effulgent Self, who is beyond thought,

Shines in the greatest, shines in the smallest,

Shines in the farthest, shines in the nearest,

Shines in the secret chamber of the heart.


8. Beyond the reach of the senses is he,

But not beyond the reach of a mind stilled

Through the practice of deep meditation.

9. Beyond the reach of words and works is he,

But not beyond the reach of a pure heart

Freed from the sway of the senses.


10. Sages are granted all the help they need

In everything they do to serve the Lord.

Let all those who seek their own fulfillment

Love and honor the illumined sage.




1. The wise have attained the unitive state,

And see only the resplendent Lord of Love.

Desiring nothing in the physical world,

They have become one with the Lord of Love.


2. Those who dwell on and long for sense pleasure

Are born in a world of separateness.

But let them realize they are the Self

And all separateness will fall away.


3. Not through discourse, not through the intellect,

Not even through study of the scriptures

Can the Self be realized. The Self reveals

Himself to the one who longs for the Self.

Those who long for the Self with all their heart

Are chosen by the Self as his own.


4. Not by the weak, not by the unearnest,

Not by those who practice wrong disciplines

Can the Self be realized. The Self reveals

Himself as the Lord of Love to the one

Who practices right disciplines.


5. What the sages sought they have found at last.

No more questions have they to ask of life.

With self-will extinguished, they are at peace.

Seeing the Lord of Love in all around,

Serving the Lord of Love in all around,

They are united with him forever.


6. They have attained the summit of wisdom

By the steep path of renunciation.

They have attained to immortality

And are united with the Lord of Love.

7. When they leave the body, the vital force

Returns to the cosmic womb, but their work

Becomes a beneficial force in life

To bring others together in the Self.


8. The flowing river is lost in the sea;

The illumined sage is lost in the Self.

The flowing river has become the sea;

The illumined sage has become the Self.


9. Those who know the Self become the Self.

None in their family forgets the Self.

Freed from the fetters of separateness,

They attain to immortality.


10. Let this wisdom be taught only to those

Who obey the law of life's unity.

Let this wisdom be taught only to those

Who offer their lives to the Lord of Love.


11. This is the great truth taught in ancient times

By the sage Angiras to Shaunaka.

Let us adore the illumined sages!

Let us adore the illumined sages!


O M shanti shanti shanti